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« ADG Nominees: Period, Fantasy, and (Our Favorite) Contemporary | Main | Interviewlapalooza »
Thursday
Jan032013

Tolkien at 121

JA from MNPP here to wish the author JRR Tolkien a terribly post-mortem happy 121st birthday. Here he was born (in 1892) and there he died (in September of 1973) - twas hardly a moment for you, you took no notice. (Sorry I have that Vertigo quote permanantly on tap, even if inappropriate.)

Anyway! Even if Nathaniel's boycotting The Hobbit, there's a lot of us (a whole heckuva lot, judging from its receipts) who weren't so strong and submitted ourselves willingly to another three hours in Hobbiton and beyond - my reaction to the film was actually one of surprised like, if not really love; I'd convinced myself in a post-Lovely-Bones world (shudder) that Peter Jackson had lost that ineffable something that made him so special, and I was wrong. I thought the film was like slipping back into a warm bath - cozy and quite fine. If I weren't so enamored with PJ's take on Tolkien's world I might find the probably obscene money-grab (point Nat) of stretching this lil' book out to nine hours less palatable, but I do, I do like PJ's take on Tolkien's world an awful lot, so I ended up more okay with it than I anticipated myself being in the end. Ask me again after he's piled the latter six hours on and we'll see how I feel but for now, he's reconvinced me at giving it a go. What's did y'all think?

I saw a joke going around on Twitter about how we'll be getting an epic series of films for The Silmarillion next; nevermind that all the good stuff's apparently somehow making its way into the three Hobbit movies already - where there be gold, there be dragons. Where would movie-making even be without JRR today? How many helicopter shots of groups of people striding across pretty landscapes would we have missed out on? I shudder to think.

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Reader Comments (6)

I don't think Jackson turning THE HOBBIT into three IS a cash-grabbing attempt though. If anything it's his inability to quit Middle Earth. And although that's not a GREAT thing for him in the long run, it's understandable. He's still, perhaps to detriment, in love with the world and the characters and he doesn't know how to quit it.

January 3, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAndrewK

First Skyfall, and now The Hobbit. What have I done to always find praise for movies that destroy things I love (like the Bond formula, or Middle-earth) around here?
Okay, even when we ignore the unimportant detail that Jackson's take is incompatible with Tolkien's world, then I'd still like to point out that The Hobbit is in fact not a "lil' book". It's actually rather long for a book that - in spite of several darker moments - essentially remains a children's book. Not that this would justify Jackson's decision to rape it three times in a row...

"Where would movie-making even be without JRR today?"

Maybe you should ask that kind of question when we've got movies that are actually recognizable as a representation of Tolkien.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

This is sacrilege ... but I think Jackson improves on Tolkien's storytelling. Tolkien's imagination was amazing. But sometimes I feel like screaming when an elf shows up to sing the Ballad of Dombullirarlueahfh during a battle or something.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAlejandro

Willy -- so we've established that you think the LotR and the Bond scenes are both horrid desecrations of their original spirits. so now i have to ask: what adaptations DO you like?

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

TLOTR? Yes. But I usually don't view the Bond films as literary adaptations even though at least a few of them are surprisingly faithful to the books they're based on. However, Bond has so many faces that the "original (literary) spirit" does not really matter to me. But what does matter is the Bond formula, and that one was thrown away only once prior to the Craig era, in Licence To Kill.
Motion picture history is littered with brilliant adaptations that manage to both capture the spirit of their source materials and work as cinematic works of art in their own right. A few examples off the top of my head: Gone With The Wind, The Silence Of The Lambs, Dances With Wolves, Rosemary's Baby, The Maltese Falcon... I'd also like to add that I think that Casino Royale is a rather well done adaptation of a famous novel, save for the added and rather nonsensical "Learn never to trust anyone" character arc of course.

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterWilly

Sorry, I'm allergic to all films Tolkien. <shuddering>

January 4, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

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